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Winter has come! And aside from coats and jackets, it’s also important to have around a pair of sustainable footwear to keep our feet warm and dry during this season. At the same time, we want something that would complement our style, and be functional for planned winter activities.
In choosing winter boots, think about your intended uses: Are they for casual and light everyday wear, or for more strenuous winter hiking or snowshoeing activities? Casual winter boots that are more fashionable and urban will keep the feet reasonably warm in most snow conditions; other models may be a bit bulkier but offer more outdoor protection for heavier snow exposure and harsher types of weather.
When buying any kind of footwear, the fit is the most important of all, as it will determine how comfortable we’ll be when walking around in them. Your boots should have some extra space to fit thicker, warmer socks, and allow air to circulate. You may choose to go with your regular size, or go a little higher up depending on the thickness of the socks you’ll wear.
Look for boots with laces and adjustable collars to get a custom fit that keeps the snow out and the warmth in.
For those who need extra arch support, look for those with rigid, low heels. Or you can always buy separate arch supports if the boots don’t have them built in.
Winter shoes are supposed to keep our feet dry. Therefore, choosing the right material is also important. Do you want them waterproof or water-resistant?
Waterproof means the boots can be completely submerged in water and the material simply won’t soak. Most are made of synthetics or rubber, and not let a drop through to ensure that your feet will not get wet. However, these types are rarely breathable, and usually stiff, but you can always add paddings or insoles if needed. If your feet are the sweaty type too, you can use socks that have breathable linings instead to avoid fungal infections.
Leather is very waterproof but requires extra (and proper) care to protect it from calcium build-up. Use an all-purpose spray protector to prevent calcium from attacking the boot while waterproofing it at the same time.
Pro-tip: Wipe the snow from your boots so that it does not soak into the fabric.
Water-resistant means that the material, usually nylon, will keep the water at bay but only for a certain period. If submerged, the water-resistant boots will repel water for a time before it starts to soak. These boots will allow the air to flow in and out and let moisture escape from the inside, providing better conditions for your feet. However, they can not provide the same amount of protection from water and will eventually soak if left exposed to water or snow for too long.
Pro-tip: Wash your water-resistant boots after they’ve been soaked to not let bacteria grow in it.
Aside from keeping the feet dry, winter boots are supposed to keep our feet warm. Most winter boots will have a temperature rating ranging from 200- to 1000-gram insulation, where the higher number denotes thicker lining, thus offering more warmth.
Choose boots with wool or synthetic materials like Thinsulate as they give warmth without the weight and are good for wet climates. For more extreme, subfreezing temperatures, choose those with a separate and removable thick felt liner or have interiors filled with sheepskin.
The boots’ shaft height isn’t just for appearance. The taller the boots, the more of your leg temperature is regulated. Shorter boots are easier to walk in but don't offer enough coverage on the legs. So for trekking or trudging through snow, one should opt for tall boots as they keep the calves warm.
Also, look for boots with an adjustable collar to easily adjust how tight they are around your leg.
Winter boots are usually made with rubber soles to block moisture. But more than that, the soles also provide traction and grip to avoid slipping while walking. Treading on ice and snow can be hard if they are not present or proper.
Find boots with enough treads, bumps and crevices, especially on the heels, as they offer a much better grip. Otherwise, use removable crampons for more traction.
Directly related to shoe comfort, closures will secure the boots and ensure proper fit, at the same time, keep out elements that will either get your feet wet or cold.
While pull-on or zipper styles are easy and quick, especially when you have to remove and wear back your boots several times a day, they are not as secure. Use a full-lace-up boot for outdoor activities or walking long distances as they fit tighter on the calves.
Fashion or Function? While the tips mentioned above are meant to ensure that our winter footwear serves a functional purpose, also consider whether the designs match your personal style. After all, you’d be walking around wearing them during the grandest time of the year.
Find a style that can be perfect for a casual day shoveling snow, to running errands, to going to work. Get them in more neutral colors so they could easily match whatever outfit you’ll wear them with. For women who might need the extra height, finding one with at least a 2-inch block heel can avoid slip and slide accidents.
Finally, a high price doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. Check the stitching and make sure it is neat and tidy, the insoles are in place properly and the soles are attached securely to the boot with either glue, stitching, or both. Winter boots can be a lifetime investment. So choose wisely and take proper care of them.
Duckfeet Canada’s winter boots make for worthy investments as it ensures high-quality craftsmanship and functionality. it will last you several winter seasons to come. Want to see our winter boots recommendations?